The symbols, lines and shapes on these posters, flyers and cards advertising events and parties in 1980s New York are all instantly recognisable as being the work of artist Keith Haring (May 4, 1958 – February 16, 1990). Collected by the Marc Miller’s brilliant Gallery98, the posters made as the image flowed from mind to hand speak of another time and place.
In 1978 Haring moved from Pittsburgh to New York and enrolled in the School of Visual Arts (SVA). In New York, he became friends with artists Kenny Scharf and Jean-Michel Basquiat, musicians, performance artists and graffiti writers, who excited him. As Vincent Van Gogh had found inspiration in the energetic lines of Japanese art, Haring was drawn to “the fluidity of line, and the way they handled scale – doing this work on these huge, huge trains. And always the hard-edged black line that tied the drawings together! It was the line I had been obsessed with since childhood!”
In 1980, he began to use white chalk to draw on the matte black paper used to cover unused advertising panels in the city’s subway stations. His quick art was not for the old galleries, but for everyone. By 1985, he’d made hundreds of these public drawings in rhythmic lines, sometimes, creating as many as forty “subway drawings” in one day. Haring saw the subway as a “laboratory” for playing with lines.
Between 1980 and 1989, Haring’s work appeared in many exhibitions. His first solo exhibition in New York.was at the Westbeth Painters Space in 1981. In 1982, his work formed a one-man exhibition at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery. In April 1986, he opened the Pop Shop in Soho, selling low-cost T-shirts, toys, posters, buttons and magnets bearing his images. We also see a few of the many images he created for charities and hospitals.
“Keith Haring was already showing regularly at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery by 1983; his exhibition at the Fun Gallery was a gesture of solidarity with the other graffiti artists represented by the low-budget East Village space. The posters were financed by Haring himself, who personally handed them out to the many fans flocking to the gallery.” – Marc Miller
All images © Keith Haring and the Kith Haring Foundation.
Buy and find more Keith Haring ephemera at Gallery 98.
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